Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Builders Become Agency's Angels; Builders Care and Navy Volunteers Are Renovating a Group Home for Angelwood

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Builders Become Agency's Angels; Builders Care and Navy Volunteers Are Renovating a Group Home for Angelwood

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

You could call it extreme makeover, Angelwood style.

Or you could just call the weeklong renovation of the non-profit agency's first group home in Mandarin "amazing," which was what its founder said when she saw dozens of Builders Care and Navy volunteers beginning the free renovation valued at an estimated $100,000 on Cheatham Trail Friday.

"It is always awesome when the community jumps in to help other people, whether it is my kids or anything," said Sally Fox, who started the agency in 1993 to help children who have developmental difficulties like her daughter, Noelle.

"It is always comforting to see a community that cares so much," she said.

Marge Holtsinger, whose 25-year-old daughter, Catie, lives in the house, was amazed at the work going on as she served sodas and hamburgers to the volunteers.

"It is a miracle and a blessing," Holtsinger said. "Catie will be so excited. They have been able to pick out the color for their room. ... And the volunteers - I am overwhelmed."

Builders Care, a charitable arm of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, rallied more than 40 contractors, plumbers and electricians to renovate the five-bedroom home on a quiet cul-de-sac off Scott Mill Lane. They were joined by dozens from Jacksonville's Navy community.

"When you see the young ladies living in the house, the decision was a no-brainer that we should be here to help," Executive Director Bill Wilson said. "A project like this should really take four to five months. But something magical happens on a Builders Care job. It's a happening."

Angelwood started 13 years ago with this group home on Cheatham Trail and two children. That home - one of five group homes the non-profit agency now operates for 24 clients - houses five young women ages 14 to 25. Four of the homes are in Mandarin, and one is on the Westside. The non-profit group also offers a community support program for disabled adults who live in their own homes and four summer camp sessions each July. Funding comes from Medicaid, the state, and local fund-raising including the Angelwood Golf Classic each April and the Angelwood Fashion Show each March.

In late December 2004, Builder's Care made Angelwood's Westside group home handicap-accessible and will expand it in the near future. Angelwood's group home off Losco Road in Mandarin received a new $6,500 roof a year ago, replaced free by the Northeast Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association. This project's genesis arose from discussions Wilson had with Angelwood Executive Director Diane Tuttle two years ago over the wear and tear on the house caused by more than a decade of use.

"He was learning about Angelwood and our needs and I said, 'Some day, this house needs help, because it is the oldest we have. …

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